Home Making

Lee Matalone. Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-295366-7
Rumpus columnist Matalone’s heady, lyrical debut overlays an adopted woman’s journey into motherhood with her daughter’s story of making a home for herself as an adult. Born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and French father, Cybil is adopted by an American couple in Arizona in the 1950s and eventually has a daughter, Chloe, who, in the present, struggles to make a home out of a sprawling house she buys in Virginia while estranged from her husband, Pat, contrasting their old house with Le Corbusier’s aphorism, “A house is a machine for living in” (“machines break, become defunct”). In spare chapters, Mantalone moves back and forth in time to trace the shapes of Cybil’s and Chloe’s identities through their relationships to domestic spaces. As Chloe wanders from dining room to kitchen to closet in her new house, she ruminates on the varied meanings of home, reflecting on her childhood and contemplating a future with her best friend, Beau, a gay man who glibly encourages her, “As the great sculpture of pirouetting steel, Richard Serra, said, space is material.” In measured prose, Matalone draws out connections between past and present to illuminate the mother and daughter’s shared sense of ambiguity toward motherhood. Matalone’s cool reflections on art and architecture will appeal to fans of Chris Kraus. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 01/02/2020
Release date: 02/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-295367-4
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